While fixed schedules may keep conventional offices running like clockwork, rotating rosters are fundamental to businesses with longer hours. In fact, within most hospitality businesses, rotating shifts are more or less a given.
Developed to fit the dynamic needs of restaurants, cafes, bars and other businesses operating outside nine to five hours, rotating shift work allows managers to schedule workers for shifts throughout the day, night and weekend.
What is a rotating shift?
So what is a rotating shift, and how do rosters based on this concept work? As the name suggests, they see employees switch shifts on a weekly, bi-weekly or sometimes even monthly basis. For example, a staff member may work day shifts one week, afternoon shifts the next, and night shifts in their third week.
Depending on your business model, rotating rosters could be a great way to boost efficiency, increase staff satisfaction and heighten overall performance. But before you take the plunge, here are a few key points to consider…
Factoring in employee preferences
One of the biggest factors to consider when toying with a rotating work schedule is employee preferences. For some employees, fixed shifts are preferred as they allow for long-term planning when it comes to family responsibilities, appointments, day-care and so on.
That said, with the right planning it’s easy to get around this. By issuing your employees with rotating schedules several weeks in advance you’ll empower them with the insight to plan around their upcoming shifts, regardless of whether they’re set during the day, night or weekend.
In every workplace, some shifts are coveted, while others are less desirable. The benefit of rotating rosters is the scope to evenly distribute shifts and create a culture of fairness and equality.
For example, over the course of a month the same sought-after Sunday night shift featuring time-and-a-half pay can be distributed to four different employees, as opposed to being monopolised by a single staff member.
Another big issue to consider is health concerns. For businesses like supermarkets and bars where late night shifts are the norm, it’s important to ensure that rotating schedules don’t jeopardise the health of employees.
Frequent changes in sleep patterns has been pegged as one of the primary causes of long term health problems, so be sure to take this into account when putting together a rotating roster.
Balancing skills and building versatility
For businesses, rotating shift work allows managers to pick and choose what skill sets they’d like on the floor at any given time. They can be used to meet changing demands and balance ratios between experienced, inexperienced and specialist workers. This keeps overall team performance consistently high and helps run a smooth ship.
From a versatility perspective, rotating shifts help employees enhance their skill sets. For example, a fast food restaurant may have different protocols for opening and closing. However, under a rotating roster system all staff should have a grasp on how to perform both these duties.
Another factor to consider is how many hours you want to include in each shift. If your business runs 24/7, two 12 hour shifts or three eight hour shifts is a popular option.
For some managers, building tight-knit teams is a top priority. On a rotating roster, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to encourage ongoing teamwork between all staff, or split staff into teams that all rotate at the same time.
Ultimately, implementing a rotating roster will depend entirely on the unique needs of your business. Shift rotations go hand in hand with a host of benefits, but it’s not all sunshine, rainbows and satisfied staff.
In order to make your rotating roster work you’ll need to be organised, considerate and flexible. Not to mention, have intelligent rostering software onside. Find out more about our modern workforce management tool today and enjoy a simpler rostering process.